Saturday 22 October 2016

TV's California Highway Patrol heart-throb Estrada joins real police force

Published 06/07/2016 | 12:01

Erik Estrada, who played the part of a TV motorcycle cop, has now joined a real police force
Erik Estrada, who played the part of a TV motorcycle cop, has now joined a real police force

Actor Erik Estrada, made famous by playing the role of a motorcycle police officer on TV, has been sworn in as a real member of law enforcement.

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Estrada found fame in the series CHiPs, about California Highway Patrol officers, playing Frank "Ponch" Poncherello from 1977 to 1983.

The actor, 67, has now become a reserve police officer for the St Anthony Police Department in Idaho after he was sworn in by Mayor Neils Thueson on Saturday.

He tweeted: "At LAX flying to Idaho to become a member of the Saint Anthony Police Dept. A special day for me."

He later updated his followers: " OK fnf's I'm now a police officer with the ST ANTHONY POLICE DEPT" along with a picture of himself in uniform posing next to a white Harley-Davidson motorbike.

He told local news station KPVI he would be starting the force's new Internet Crimes Against Children task force, adding he had wanted to be a police officer before he played one on TV.

He said: " The online sexual predator will take his time to groom a child on the internet. They will send them gifts, they will befriend them, they will be there for them and before you know it, the child has disclosed every bit of information of themselves. Now they know where they live," said Estrada.

Terry Harris, St Anthony's chief of police, said: "As a community it is really hard to imagine, I mean come into a small community in Idaho and have somebody of his stature ... here is, I'm just flabbergasted that he was even willing to come here and do it."

Since his starring role in ChiPs, Estrada has enjoyed acting roles in TV series including Sealab 2021, and played himself in shows and movies including My Name Is Earl and Van Wilder: Party Liaison.

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